The Groundsman

May 2012

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the Groundsman May 2012 FEATURE 15 It's not just cricket! (It's Olympic archery, too) Mick Hunt, Head Groundsman at Lord's Cricket Ground, explains to Colin Hoskins how he will cope with Olympic archery in a busy summer schedule of events at the 'home of cricket' in north London "You have to be able to instantly adapt to weather conditions," says Mick Mick Hunt's pragmatism has earned him a reputation as being one of the country's top groundsmen. Now enjoying his 43rd year at Lord's, Mick consistently produces flawless top-class wickets at the 'home of cricket' – and all without a day's 'formal' training in pitch maintenance and management, but rather by applying his natural ability and his knack of knowing what needs to be done to the pitch and when. "Every day is different – you never know what Mother Nature is going to dish out – so, you have to be ready and able to instantly adapt to the weather conditions in relation to what's happening on the pitch," he says. Each ground is unique – here it is the slope of the square, the high sand content on the outfield and our heavy usage; sometimes we have to use the same pitch for three games! "We therefore have to adapt to the demands on a daily, even hourly basis. Whether that involves cutting, rolling the square, watering or using the covers (sometimes we're constantly pulling these on and off on a daily basis), it is governed by the circumstances of the day." Even though Mick says he "has learned as I've gone along", behind that sentiment is an obvious wealth of knowledge and experience that is revered by cricket groundsmen the world over – why else, indeed, would Australian groundsmen every year spend a six-month 'sabbatical' as part of Mick's team? "They get a good view of another side of [cricket pitch] life," Mick quips, "especially in terms of the number of games we have to accommodate in a typical season." Those demands seem to increase year- on-year, he reflects, with Lord's facing a relentless schedule of Test matches and County, Pro 40 and Twenty20 games, as well as corporate events. And this year, Mick also has the Olympic archery competition to contend with. "We'll be shut for cricket for six weeks, and after the last arrow is fired we'll have just 10 days to get the pitch ready for a Test with South Africa."

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